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Hepatitis A Statewide Community Outbreak
Hepatitis A Statewide Community Outbreak

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has declared a statewide community outbreak of hepatitis A after observing an increase in cases linked to certain risk factors since the beginning of 2018. ODH and affected local health departments are investigating these cases. 

Outbreak case statistics are updated on the ODH website each Monday by 2 p.m

Outbreaks of hepatitis A are occurring in several states across the United States, including neighboring states of Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and West Virginia.

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable liver disease that usually spreads when a person ingests fecal matter - even in microscopic amounts - from contact with objects, food or drinks contaminated by the stool of an infected person. Hepatitis A can also be spread from close personal contact with an infected person, such as through sex.

The high-risk populations for hepatitis A in this outbreak include:

  • People who use drugs (injection or non-injection)
  • People experiencing unstable housing or homelessness
  • People who are currently or were recently incarcerated
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • People with chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C

Symptoms of hepatitis A include fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, clay-colored stools and jaundice. People with hepatitis A can experience mild illness lasting a few weeks to severe illness lasting several months.

People who believe that they are at high risk for hepatitis A infection should contact their healthcare provider or local health department for information about vaccination. People who know that they have been exposed to someone with hepatitis A should contact their healthcare provider or local health department to discuss post-exposure vaccination options. Individuals who experience symptoms of hepatitis A should contact their healthcare provider.